Community of Christ Enduring Principles Spotlight
The 11th chapter of the Book of Mark in the New Testament records the “triumphant entry” of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. This is the focus of Palm Sunday in the Christian calendar, which will be celebrated this Sunday, March 28.
As Mark describes it, the entry into Jerusalem was a colourful affair. Jesus’ disciples first retrieve a donkey or colt for Jesus to ride, then other followers put their cloaks on the back of the donkey to make it more comfortable for him. Finally other followers even put their cloaks on the ground in front of the donkey for it to walk on. These are all signs of respect and honour for Jesus. Mark also says “others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the field” on the path of the donkey carrying Jesus. The similar account in the Gospel of John is the only specific mention of “branches of palm leaves,” but it is from that account that we get the name “Palm Sunday.”
As colourful as this event is, we all know “the rest of the story” – and, for the most part, it is not nearly so triumphant or celebratory.
Some of you may remember the movie of the rock opera, “Jesus Christ Superstar.” In the scene that represents this triumphant entry the crowd around Jesus sings the song, “Hosanna, Heysanna.” At various points the crowd directs some rather poignant words to Jesus, namely:
As the crowd asks for this potential ultimate sacrifice, the camera freezes on Jesus’ face as he momentarily seems to offer a panicked look. The scene continues, the crowd moves on and Jesus proceeds to the next scene.
This question, “would you die for me?”, of course is true foreshadowing of the next few days. Although Jesus is recorded as warning his disciples about his pending doom in Jerusalem, his friends seem to brush aside the warnings and really do not understand or accept what Jesus has been telling them. In this particular scene I think the intent was to show Jesus’ reaction to his words being shouted back to him by the crowd when his closest friends and confidants had refused to accept them as real.
What would YOU say to Jesus if you had the chance to walk along beside him as he rode the donkey? What would YOU ask him at that highly emotional time if you could?
Perhaps most importantly, let me ask: What are YOU doing after the parade?* Do you think you will just go home for supper and maybe tell the family what an interesting afternoon you just had? Will you stick with Jesus and his followers and maybe find out where he will be preaching tomorrow? Will you go with them to find out more about what he is all about so that you can share that with friends and bring them all with you the next time you hear that Jesus will be in town?
Now let’s ask the really difficult questions: Where will you be on Thursday evening when Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested? Where will you be on Friday morning when Jesus is being tried and tortured? Where will you be on Friday afternoon when he sentenced to death and then taken to the edge of the city and crucified by the Romans? Where will you be on Sunday morning when the women discover the empty tomb? Will you believe them when they tell you about it? And then… And then… What will you do?
Just a few “easy” questions for your consideration on Palm Sunday.
As always, I pray for you God’s blessings of joy, hope, love, and peace in these challenging times.
Canada West Mission Centre President
*This question shamelessly stolen from a sermon by Danny Belrose in Edmonton more years ago than either of us will admit to.
community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537